Watertown doctor: masks, gowns badly needed

Updated: Mar. 23, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The governor announced Monday the state is sending out a big shipment of supplies that it has secured to hospitals and providers. We're talking hundreds of thousands of pieces of protective gear. One local doctor says it's badly needed.

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is critical for healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19. At Pediatric Associates of Watertown, there’s not enough.

"We were using the same three gowns and one mask," said Stephanie Oliva, pediatrician.

That's between more than 4 people, who treat children. Dr. Oliva says she can't buy any because store shelves are wiped clean, and emergency supplies haven't arrived yet.

They're left to spray down and re-use - not ideal, but it's all they can do to care for patients.

"I have this pit of dread that one of my nurses will get sick," said Dr. Oliva.

"Seeing my colleagues here, they're having to struggle to change in and out of the same ones, so it would just be helpful if we could have extra so that they don't have to worry about that when they come out of the room, they can come out of the room with a clean one," said Jennah Beutel, supervising receptionist.

The practice is open for both routine and sick visits, and some kids have been tested for the coronavirus there.

What they ask is, if you can, give supplies - a life could depend on it.

"If you have something that can protect us that can't stay home, we would appreciate you donating that. It would literally save lives if you're sitting on some masks," said Dr. Oliva.

If you or anyone you know have any personal protective equipment, such as small N95 masks, you can make a donation to Dr. Oliva's office.

You can do that by calling the front desk at 315-782-4391, reaching out through the office’s Facebook page, or sending an email to pedassociatesmedrecords@gmail.com.

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